Leaving On A Jet Plane
Not so much around the world in 80 days as 80 hours this last week as Singapore, Tokyo and Hong Kong were my stop-offs en route to South Africa. Any more flying for me before Christmas and I’ll be sprouting wings. The trek started at 6 a.m. with a flight from Manchester to Heathrow to connect with Darren Clarke and Singapore Airlines. We arrived at the city of the same name at 7.40a.m the following day.
Laguna International Golf Club was our destination where we had just 90 minutes to freshen up before Darren was on duty with nine of Barclay’s Capital’s top customers from the Asia region. After a 45-minute clinic and some one-to-one coaching, he then played six holes with each of three groups.
After a busy day, we decided to reward ourselves with the customary Singapore Slings at Raffles followed by a karaoke session where I once again showed the world just why I was a golfer and not a singer. Mr. Clarke did not quite fill the boots of our good friend, Mr.Westwood, in the backing singer role although my rendition of Crocodile Rock seemed to entertain some of our group.
Thankfully our hectic schedule did allow us to take in the World Cup Final although we would have had to arrive at Muddy Murphy’s Irish Bar six hours before we did to stand any chance of watching it there. We settled in Dan Ryan’s American Bar where we were the only Brits together with a few Aussies. It was riveting entertainment and we were not decanted from the bar until we had taken in the Manchester United v Blackburn and Southampton v Chelsea matches. We washed down breakfast, lunch and inner with a couple of g & t’s and were then picked up the following morning at 5.15am for a flight to Tokyo which I managed to sleep through… for whatever reason!
Our tour guide Yu-San managed to find an executive mini bus for our two-hour journey to Hourin GC which included a television set. The first image we saw was that of Lee Westwood en route to a third-place finish in Japan.
We were regally entertained and after another company day with Barclay’s Capital, I decided to extend my karaoke repertoire to take in Barry White, Billy Joel and Van Morrison among others. Unfortunately I took along the same voice. Still, we had a very memorable visit - not least for the wonderful pictures we had of the Japanese clients who were immaculately dressed in suits and ties… all wearing their Barclay’s Capital visors.
Then it was back in the mini bus to see highlights of the President’s Cup before boarding a Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong, trying to judge when best to sleep because of the huge time change we would encounter on arriving in Johannesburg for the Nedbank Million Dollar. Darren’s wife Heather arrived simultaneously from London and we all jumped on a small plane for the short hop to Sun City and a welcome rest.
Darren has turned into a fitness fanatic these days and it is amazing to see him work out in the gym where everything he does is timed and monitored by Steve Hampson. His routine even raised the eyebrows of Australia’s Robert Allenby, who couldn’t believe how much weight he’s lost. Fortunately, his extra fitness means he has not lost any distance on his drives.
All my work was completed by the weekend so I was back in Blighty this morning (Saturday) and ready for more business behind my desk with schedules, contracts, sponsors etc., etc.,. I just hope I don’t hear Leaving On A Jet Plane for a week or two.